Thursday, July 18, 2019

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Yesterday, my son Michael, who lives in Chicago traveling for work, passed through Madison and stopped for lunch.  Nothing makes me happier than to cook for my family.  I saw this recipe and knew Michael would love it as he likes to eat healthy.  This salad is fresh, sweet, savory and packed full of flavor.  I ended up going to three grocery stores to find ripe strawberries,  fresh corn on the cobb and a ripe avocado.  It was worth it to sit down to lunch with this delicious salad and the company of my son.

  • Dressing/Marinade:
  • 1/3 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar/ cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • For Salad:
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 heads romaine, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together Dijon, green onions, olive oil, honey, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside 1/3 of the mixture. With remaining, 2/3 of the mixture add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to thin out dressing and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  (whisk again right before serving)
  • In a Ziploc bag or shallow dish, combine chicken thighs and 1/3 of the  Dijon mixture; marinate for at least 2 hours up to 6 hours, turning the bag occasionally. 
  • Preheat grill to medium heat and oil grates. 
  • Add chicken to grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is completely cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
  • While chicken is on the grill.  Cook bacon until crisp.  Crumble and set aside.
  • Also, place unshucked corn in the microwave for 3 minutes.  After, when cool enough to handle, cut off the end. Starting with that end of the husk pull on husk and it will slide right off the corn, silk and all. Cut corn off the cobb and set aside.     
  • To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, bacon, strawberries, avocado, and corn. Pour the Dijon dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Crunchy Granola Clusters

 I've been making the same Granola for years, that is until now.  I have a new favorite.  It has the same ingredients as my other recipe, it's loaded with oats, nuts, and coconut, with a touch of maple flavor but the difference is, it has big crunchy clusters.  It's good sprinkled on yogurt, with milk or even by the handful.  The best part is it's easy to make.  Okay, the best part is eating it by the handful!

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (large flakes not shredded)
  • 1/2 cup slivered raw almonds 
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Add oats, coconut, almonds, and pecans to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. To a  small microwave-safe bowl ( I used a two cup glass measuring cup) add brown sugar, salt, coconut oil, maple syrup and heat for 30 seconds.  Stir to combine.  If not totally combined but in the microwave, 20 seconds more and mix.  (I use a small whisk)  Add vanilla and mix again.
  4. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and lightly stir to combine until all oats and nuts are thoroughly coated. Arrange on a large baking sheet (covered with parchment paper) and spread into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the pan around (so it bakes evenly) and bake 10 minutes more.   Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.  Everyone's oven is different so if you may need a few more mins. Do not stir!!  You'll know it's done when the granola is golden brown.
  6. Do not stir!  Let cool COMPLETELY before breaking into clusters.
  7. Store in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Eggplant and Italian Sausage Gratin

I have to start out by saying that I have never cooked with eggplant.  I like it and I've had eggplant dishes, like eggplant parmesan and eggplant Baba Ganoush at restaurants but this recipe is my first. 
When I saw this recipe on a blog I follow, Chris at The CafĂ© Sucre Farine, I went out that day and bought the ingredients to make it for dinner.  What caught my eye about this recipe is that she said her husband said after tasting one bite, “This might just be the most delicious thing you’ve ever made!”  Well, I made it for my husband and this gets a thumbs up from both of us!  So delicious!  It also comes together easily, while the eggplant is roasting, make the sauce, then assemble and cook.
Check out Chris's blog and this recipe here...I followed it exactly, so no need to rewrite it.  Chris also gives great tips on buying eggplants and about the recipe.  One thing I will add is when you roast the eggplant, make sure you generously brush the foiled pans with olive oil.  I didn't and the eggplant slices stuck.  By the time I got it off the pan, it wasn't nice slices anymore but the sauce covered up my mistake and it still tasted wonderful.

***After eating the leftovers, which warmed up great in the microwave, I have to add that I would make one change after all....instead of 8 servings, I would say 6 servings.  Maybe 8 servings if you are serving a side salad.  It probably also depends on the size of your eggplants.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Spring Greens and a Lemon Vinaigrette

Crispy hot tender chicken topped with cool spring greens tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and freshly grated parmesan cheese – makes for a simply delicious meal. 
I do recommend using smaller chicken breast because once you pound them flat they can become as big as a dinner plate!  


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (after pounding flat they become HUGE so try and use smaller breast)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 panko 
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra shredded Parmesan for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter  
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • spring greens (enough for 2 servings)
  • lemon vinaigrette
  • freshly shredded or shaved Parmesan
  • lemon wedge


1.  Pound the chicken (I like to use a large baggie or heavy-duty plastic wrap) until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet, a rolling pin or even a heavy fry pan works.  Lightly salt and pepper chicken.
2.  Combine the flour, panko, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish (use dishes big enough to hold flatten chicken breast).  In a second shallow dish, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon of water.  Dip the chicken breasts on both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan (large enough to hold flatten chicken or saute one breast at a time using 1/2 butter and oil) and cook chicken breasts on medium heat for 5 minutes on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through.  If the breading is browning too quickly turn down the heat.  At this point, you can put the cooked breast in a 200-degree oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. To serve, place chicken breast on a plate, squeeze with a lemon wedge, mound the spring greens on top and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Yield: 2 servings  (This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled)


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Lemon Dill Sauce

We have Salmon at least once a week and I'm always looking for new recipes to change it up.  Today I basically sauteed the salmon in olive oil sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I kept it simple because I made this decadent lemon dill sauce to drizzle over the salmon.  This sauce is delicious, not only for salmon but I can't wait to try it on cod, chicken, and asparagus.  I'm going to have to grow some dill!  Thanks to Robyn at Add a Pinch for the recipe.  Check out her blog, so many great recipes.


  • 2 cloves garlic minced 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock (I used chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (If using wine I would cut lemon juice to 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped FRESH dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup HEAVY cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided  
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  • Add garlic, wine or chicken stock, lemon juice, and dill to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat and whisk in mustard and heavy cream. Continue to cook on a slow boil until it reduced and thickens (about 10-15 minutes), making sure to whisk often. Turn heat to simmer and Whisk in butter pieces one at a time. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
  • Serve: drizzle on salmon, cod, chicken or asparagus.
        Yield: about 3/4 cup                                                       

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Basic Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisp

I LOVE tomato soup and have been looking for a basic recipe.  Well, I found one from Chrissy Teigen's newest cookbook, "Cravings, Hungry For More".  The recipe is so basic that I usually have all the ingredients on hand so this recipe will be my go-to tomato soup.  In the summer I can see adding fresh basil when I can pick it fresh from my herb garden but now in the winter, it's perfect as is.  I usually make a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with tomato soup but these parmesan crisps are a perfect pairing.  They are delicate, crispy and so flavorful that I didn't even miss my usual grilled cheese sandwich!
Thanks, Chrissy!  Every recipe that I've made from your cookbooks have been delicious!

Servings: 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes in juice, roughly chopped (use kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes right in the can)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. If making Parmesan Crisp preheat the oven 375.  In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes until translucent and slightly golden.  Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.

  2. Add the tomatoes, including the juice, along with the broth, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until liquid reduces slightly about 15 minutes.  Remove from stove and using an emulsion blender, blend until smooth.  Add the cream and blend a few seconds more.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

  3. ***If using a blender or food processor, let soup cool slightly before pouring soup mixture into a blender (or food processor) and puree for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  ***Make sure to start out SLOW and leave a little vent so steam can escape from the blender.  Add the cream and blend for 10 seconds more.  Taste and see if it needs more salt or pepper.
  4. Divide the soup among bowls and serve with the Parmesan crisps.
*Adapted slightly from Chrissy Teigen's Cookbook,  "Cravings, Hungry for More".  

Parmesan Crisp

Ingredient:  Finely Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (use the real cheese not can) 

1 heaping tablespoon for every crisp.

*I could eat a whole pan of these but I'd say two per person is probably good.

Prepare the parmesan crisps while soup is cooking.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Take a heaping tablespoon of grated Parmesan and place on the parchment paper, patting it down slightly to about a 3-4" circle.  
Bake in the oven for about 10-13 minutes, until melted and slightly turning brown (they will crisp up upon cooling).  Remove from the oven and let sit for 3-4 minutes, until crisp and easily removed from the sheet.